Carencro building codes target the tacky, garish

“At least have something appealing on the front. We want things with neutral colors, a nice front. Things that are appealing to the eye.” JAY CASTILLE, Carencro city manager

There will be no more store fronts paneled with aluminum, vinyl siding or corrugated metal for new businesses along most of Carencro’s main thoroughfares.

Bright and garishly colored buildings are out, too. New city codes limit the palette to natural earth tones, white, black or shades of gray for everything except signs and trim.

Freestanding signs for a business should be no higher than 12 feet, and trash dumpsters have to be concealed by a 6-foot wooden fence.

“We didn’t want to run anybody off, but we want them to come into town and blend in,” Carencro City Manager Jay Castille said.

The Carencro City Council approved the new development regulations this month for certain stretches along Interstate 49, Gloria Switch Road, University Avenue and Veterans Drive.

Castille said that with the quickening pace of growth, city officials believed something needed to be done to keep up appearances.

Metal and vinyl siding is still allowed on three sides of a business, but Castille said the preference for the side facing the street is for such materials as stucco, brick or Hardie board in calm colors.

“At least have something appealing on the front,” he said. “We want things with neutral colors, a nice front. Things that are appealing to the eye.”

The new regulations, which also lay out standards for lighting, landscaping and buffer areas, do not apply to existing businesses unless a business expands by more than 50 percent of its square footage, Castille said.

In this area of the state, aesthetic standards like the ones recently adopted in Carencro are more commonly enforced on a small scale through private agreements rather than municipal codes.

A neighborhood association might require a certain style and color of mailbox, for example, or prohibit metal storage sheds.

But attempts by government to influence appearance are found in other areas of the state and country, and Castille said Carencro took its cue from a short stretch of Louisiana Avenue in Lafayette where city-parish government enforces similar regulations.

The result can be seen at the large shopping center at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Interstate 10, where Target, JCPenney, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and a host of other stores share a similar style and color scheme.

Bright colors are allowed on a sign or bit of trim, but the main building and roof must stick to neutral tones.

“If you want to build in the shopping center and you want to build a bright red building, we are going to tell you no,” said Lafayette City-Parish Development Manager Sara Gary.

Those regulations are also coming into play for a new Dollar General store taking shape on Louisiana Avenue near Willow Street.

The metal siding and boxy front common on some other Dollar General stores in the region are not allowed on that section Louisiana Avenue.

The new store on Louisiana Avenue is adding more windows than usual, using a Stucco-like finish, giving some shape to its roof line and adding what has the look of a porch on the front, said City-Parish Zoning Manager Jim Parker.

“It might be the best looking Dollar General store in Lafayette,” he said.

The special regulations for the Louisiana Avenue area from Willow Street to I-10 also address parking, lighting, landscaping and signs. They further include a ban on a list on such businesses as pawn shops, bars and car washes.

The city of Scott is eyeing similar regulations for the planned extension of Apollo Road that will start on the north at Cameron Street and run two miles south to the intersection of Dulles Drive and Rue de Belier.

City officials are hoping the area will develop into a commercial corridor and are considering height limits for signs, requirements that parking be in the rear of a business and a prohibition on metal buildings, said Pat Logan, who oversees planning for Scott.

“It’s going to be more upscale facades,” he said.